If I told you that you could improve your relationship with your au pair in just one minute, would you try it?
Sure you would.
You’re a busy host mom (or dad), juggling many demands and competing priorities. And, you’re a busy host mom who wants her au pair to know when she is doing something well and wants her to feel good about herself. So of course you’re willing to try something, especially if it takes only one minute.
But what can you do in just one minute that will have a positive effect on your au pair? Give her one minute of praise for a job done right.
One Minute of Praise for a Job Done Right
Step one: Catch your au pair doing something right.
Step two: Spend 60 seconds (or even less!) praising your au pair for doing it right.
It barely takes 30 seconds, much less 60, to tell someone directly:
(1) what they did,
(2) why it’s considered well-done, and
(3) how much you appreciate it.
Here’s an example:
"Krishnie, what a great job you’re doing getting the kids to hang up their coats every time they come inside! (what) The hallway is so neat and tidy, and we can even shut the closet door. (why) It not only makes the house feel calmer, but I’ll bet that it will be easier tomorrow when you all are leaving for school. (another why — (why not!) ) I really appreciate what you’re doing with the kids. (how much) Thank you so much."
You don’t even have to be as elaborate as that example… just be immediate , specific and positive .
You still want to give your au pair brief, positive and direct correctives when she is doing something ‘wrong’. Correcting ‘mistakes’ is important. But catching your au pair doing something good has an entirely different effect.
When you tell your au pair that something is wrong and explain how to do it right, you fix that specific problem. But, when you catch your au pair doing something right , you not only reinforce the specific positive behavior, but also you reinforce her general motivation to do well.
Plus, you show th at you care about a good job , and you show that you notice when she’s accomplished what you’ve asked.
Giving your au pair One Minute of Praise for a Job Done Right has 2 other benefits.
1. One minute of praising your au pair helps you be more aware of the positive things that your au pair contributes.
2. One minute of praising your au pair helps you create in your home an atmosphere of gratefulness and appreciation.
Want even more benefits? Try this:
Offer your au pair One Minute of Praise for a Job Done Right, and do it in front of the children.
Yes, that’s right. In front of the children.
Normally, you want to offer your comments about an au pair’s job performance or behavior in private, without the children. But, when you offer your One Minute of Praise for a Job Done Right when your children can hear you do it:
3. You show the children that doing things right is valuable in your family.
4. You show your children that doing things right is something you (Mom or Dad!) notice and pay attention to. And,
5. You show your children that you appreciate your au pair and what she is contributing to the family, no matter how small and specific that contribution may be.
Pretty nice outcome for just one minute of effort, don’t you think?